The race to the bottom goes down to the wire

The National Hockey League season ends on Sunday, and all eyes are on playoff races.

For the teams at the bottom end of the standings, though, eyes are on the race to the bottom of the NHL standings (and the top of the NHL’s draft lottery odds). Currently sitting at 26th overall, the Calgary Flames are in the thick of that race.

Here’s the state of the race heading into tonight’s games.

TIE-BREAKERS

Courtesy NHL.com:

  1. The fewer
    number of games played (i.e., superior points percentage).The greater
    number of games won, excluding games won in the Shootout. This figure is
    reflected in the ROW column.
  2. The greater
    number of points earned in games between the tied clubs. If two clubs
    are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each
    other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the
    extra game shall not be included. If more than two clubs are tied, the
    higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs,
    and not including any “”odd”” games, shall be used to determine the
    standing.
  3. The greater
    differential between goals for and against for the entire regular
    season. NOTE: In standings a victory in a shootout counts as one goal
    for, while a shootout loss counts as one goal against.

With that in mind, let’s see how the Flames stack up.

THE FLAMES (26)

Currently: 33-40-7 for 73 points with 2 games remaining (against Vancouver and Minnesota)

Points Ceiling: 77

Regulation/Overtime Wins: 31

Goal Differential: -34

EDMONTON (30)

Currently: 30-43-7 for 67 points with 2 games remaining (against Vancouver, twice)

Points Ceiling: 71, which is fewer points than Calgary currently has.

The Flames cannot be caught by Edmonton and cannot finish 30th.

TORONTO (29)

Currently: 28-40-11 for 67 points with 3 games remaining (against Columbus, Philadelphia and New Jersey)

Points Ceiling: 73, so tie-breakers would come into effect with Calgary.

Regulation/Overtime Wins: 22 (could be as high as 25 if they win out), Calgary would definitely win this tie-breaker.

The Flames cannot be caught by Toronto and cannot finish 29th.

COLUMBUS (28)

Currently: 31-40-8 for 70 points with 3 games remaining (against Toronto, Buffalo and Chicago)

Points Ceiling: 76

Regulation/Overtime Wins: 25 (could be as high as 28 if they win out), Calgary would definitely win this tie-breaker.

The Flames could be caught by Columbus, but would finish ahead of them if they tie in points based on the ROW tiebreaker.

VANCOUVER (26)

Currently: 30-36-13 for 73 points with 3 games remaining (against Calgary, Edmonton and Edmonton)

Points Ceiling: 79

Regulation/Overtime Wins: 26 (could be as high as 29 if they win out), Calgary would definitely win this tie-breaker

The Flames could be caught by Vancouver, but would finish ahead of them if they tie in points based on the ROW tiebreaker.

WINNIPEG (25)

Currently: 33-39-8 for 74 points with 2 games remaining (against San Jose and Los Angeles)

Points Ceiling: 78

Regulation/Overtime Wins: 31 (could be as high as 33 if they win out). This could be a tie between the two clubs.

Head-to-Head Points: This is a tie, as both teams won once (when you drop off the extra home date the Flames had).

Goal Differential: -26, which is better than Calgary’s and wins the tie-breaker. (This number may change.)

The Flames could be caught by Winnipeg and could finish behind them based on various tie-breakers if they have the same point total.

ARIZONA (24)

Currently: 35-38-7 for 77 points with 2 games remaining (against Nashville and San Jose)

Points Ceiling: 81

Regulation/Overtime Wins: 34, Flames would lose the tie-breaker.

The Flames cannot catch the Coyotes and cannot finish 24th.

SUM IT UP

The Flames are currently in 26th place. They can rise as high as 25th overall or fall as far as 28th overall, depending on how the final few days of the regular season go for them (and the teams around them).

  • deantheraven

    “It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter! The Flames can win both their games and finish 25th and STILL win the lottery. Will so!”
    ” Monahan makes 30, Backlund & Colburne & Bennett will make 20. They will so! And the Flames will take Matthews 1st overall. Yes they will! Lalalalalalalala… I can’t hear you!”

    I am 7 years old and a very determined optimist when it comes to the Flames.
    GFG!

  • KACaribou

    Oilers: 4 #1s in 6 years.

    Flames: 0 #1s EVER!

    Sean Monahan 6th overall, Johnny Hockey 104th, TJ Brodie 114th, Michael Ferland 133rd, Mark Giordano UNDRAFTED.

    The point being, that tanking is not necessarily worthwhile even if you do get 1st overall. Injuries… attitudes… etc. contribute to becoming a 21st Century Edmonton Oiler vs. the truly and successfully rebuilding Calgary Flames.

  • OKG

    Getting a top two pick is more important than getting 1st OA. Laine and Matthews are game-breakers. Puljujarvi and Dubois are good consolation prizes. Sergachyev, Juolevli, Chychrun, Tkachuk, Nylander are good complimentary pieces.

      • OKG

        Puljujarvi reminds me of a bigger, winger version of Matt Duchene. He’s fast, he can do the things you want him to do, but there’s a sense that he can’t put it all together. He’s a collection of traits rather than an amazing player to my eyes.

        Laine reminds me of a winger version of Evgeni Malkin. Maybe not quite the skater that Geno is YET but everything else is familiar. He can do it all, has the shot to score 40 in the NHL, can pass, cycle, disrupt, and the only thing holding him back from being better is just youth.

        Not writing Puljujarvi off mind you, these are 17 year old :::kids::: and Pulju might have a HHOF career. But based on what I’ve seen there is a gap big enough to be worth noting. Less risk with Laine, more risk with Puljujarvi. That is all.

        Puljujarvi is a hell of a prospect though and I have no problem if we draft him or Dubois. Both “can” be stars in the league. A top 4 pick is definitely better than 5th overall. But a top 2 pick is better than 3rd overall. I don’t really care if we draft 1st or 2nd if we have a top 2 pick.

        Would a 6’3″, right-handed shot Matt Duchene still be a great consolation prize? I never argued otherwise.

          • Truculence

            What makes you think he isn’t? Are you some hotshot scout who has watched both players over the course of their careers?

            Your opinion is no more valuable than anybody else’s, as we won’t know who the better player is for years.

          • OKG

            Do you need to be a hotshot scout to have an opinion that dissents from a consensus that is never and has never been right 5 or 10 years later anyways because these are 17 year olds who won’t be NHLers in their prime for another five-six years?

            I think there’s a gap between Laine and Pulju, and I don’t see the same gap between Pulju and Dubois.

            Despite this I still ahve Pulju at 3 and Dubois at 4. It’s not even a matter of my ranking them any different from the vast majority of consensus lists.

          • brodiegio4life

            all I said was that saying Dubois is in the same level as pujijarvi right now is not true. Something 99% of scouts not named Craig button agree with. That makes me an arrogant douche? Alright. So do you think anyone who likes pujijarvi over dubois is an arrogant douche?

          • supra steve

            Draft rankings do not equal one scout’s views. Most draft rankings are a consensus of many scout’s opinions. That’s how you end up with Yakupov as the CONSENSUS pick a few years ago, as he was at the top of all the draft ranking lists. Does that mean that 99% of scouts put him at the top of their list?…not a chance.

            How did Seth Jones fall to #4 pick, when he was a consensus top two? Scout’s opinions differ.

          • Baalzamon

            It seems to me that Nashville really wanted Barkov that year. I mean, I’m sure they were happy Jones fell to them once Sasha was off the board, but considering the team’s needs and everything, Barkov was probably the best fit.

          • supra steve

            For all I know, Calgary may have been high on Barkov too. As things turned out (at least to this point in time), they are probably pretty happy they ended up with Monahan. The draft is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, as “you never know what you’re gonna get”.

            Personally, I keep hoping to slip another spot or two in the standings…but then I also know that come lotto day, the 5th or 6th place club could easily win one of the 3 lotto picks. Or could fall to 8th or 9th. So let the chips fall where they may.

          • Greg

            Agreed! Even pro-scouts “never know what you’re gonna get”… And yet, so many of us, who never seen these kids beyond a few games and highlights, get such a hard-on or hate-on for some prospects that these comments devolve into name-calling. Pretty laughable. Have a favourite, but some people need to learn to keep the strength of their opinions somewhat relative to the amount of actual information they have.

          • Christian Roatis

            I’m no hotshot but I’ve watched them both for a while now, and Puljujarvi is the better player currently, by quite a bit mind you.

            Things can change but Puljujarvi is the better prospect on April 7th, 2016. Who knows what’ll be on April 7th, 2026 but I’m pretty confident Puljujarvi will still be the better player then too.

          • McRib

            Pierre Luc Dubios is a really good Hockey player: 99 Points in 62 GP, MVP of Top Prospects Game (a game Tkachuk, Chychrun, etc were also in). He actually played his best Hockey this year when Evgeny Svechnikov was out injured late in the year.

            THAT said, Jesse Puljujarvi is without a doubt #2 on the Flames depth chart (Patrik Laine has “character concerns” that matters to the Flames brass apparently).

          • McRib

            He’ll go Top. 6, I really am not in denial I swear!!!! So I think the Habs miss out being what eighth in pecking order now. Ignore the failed Louis Leblanc picks this time around, Hahaha. Pierre Luc Dubois is legit!! He honestly scored a hat trick the other night without Evgeny Svechnikov, Maxim Lazarev in Val D’or (one of better teams in league). i’d honestly take Dubois over Jakob Chychrun, thats hot take for the night. Really hope the Oilers take Chychrun!!!!

          • McRib

            Just stupid things NHL Scouts/Ownership worry about, Hahah. I don’t think they are all that major mostly along the lines of immaturity, slight overconfidence, likes to party, etc. I have been told (by NHL Scouts) he could fall from second because of it, talent wise he should go second don’t get me wrong, although I would take Puljujarvi because he is more well-rounded, fits our system better.

            Strictly talent alone he should go second (maybe even first), but I don’t see the Flames taking him though think they will stick to Puljujarvi, Tkachuk if they have the choice, but honestly I don’t think Pierre Luc Dubois is that far off as well (I know that isn’t the consensus from TSN, Sportsnet), but I have watched them all fairly regularly and think Pierre Luc Dubios could go toe to toe with almost anyone talent wise (rewatch Top Prospects Game if you doubt it).. You can question my sources, don’t care all that much, they are rock solid though (they are the type that advise media people like Damien Cox (then they ignore the negative comments), don’t worry I don’t yield any other power than being family friends with a couple NHL Scouts). If we were willing to draft a player like Laine we would have also drafted Duclair his draft year, honestly I don’t support the mentality of only drafting “high character players”, but if or when Laine falls from the top two picks you heard it here first.

  • FireScorpion

    Play Ortio at home tonight and let him close his season at home giving the fans the best chance to watch a win and shut him down and play Backstrom in Minny for the season ender. Backs against his own team and 4 games should have him happy . Back him up with Hiller. And let them both go for a twirl

  • Christian Roatis

    Disclaimer for those who don’t know yet: Every draft has a player who is my hill to die on (Since 2012 it’s been Teravainen, Barkov, Bennett (yay) and Rantanen/Kylington [yeah I like Finnish players I guess]) and this year it’s Puljujarvi.

    I’ve watched the kid for nearly 3 years ever since he lit up the U17s and I can’t help but love him. He’s everything the Flames could ever dream of. A multidimensional right winger with ALL the tools to fit on the RW with Monahan and Gaudreau.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    If the Flames want a worry-free pick who will be capable of playing high-end minutes within 3 years of being drafted and who will be an elite player for at least 10 years after that, they need not look any further than Jake Bean. He is going to end up as the best player selected in the first round.

    Why should the Flames pick another defenseman when they have pressing needs up front? Because Jake is going to be the best of all the 2016 first rounders. Wait and see. You can never have enough top-pairing defensemen who can give you 26+ minutes per night with offensive capabilities. In the 2018-19 season, when Bean is going to be ready to be a top-pairing defenseman, Brodie and Hamilton will be in the last 2 years of their contracts. Do the Flames want to keep them? Can they afford to keep them? Losing one or both may not be such a deep cut with Bean more than capable of doing the heavy lifting.

    Drafting Bean makes sense for the Flames now and in the future. He is virtually a no-lose pick. At worst, he is a second pairing defenseman who gives your team 20 minutes a night. Kid’s ceiling is through the roof.

    Take Jake!

  • knappsacked

    For those wondering what laine’s character issues are…. At the U-17 on team finland, the team had pulled the goalie and laine was not on the ice when the team had a minute left to tie the game. So he gave the coach the finger and said he could “kill the coach”.

    My immdiate thought was, “oh no! If we take him, whats he gonna do when hartley put colborne as the extra attacker”!